Practice notes: Staal to play tomorrow; Cally in non-contact jersey

Update: Per Pat Leonard, Falk and Del Zotto appear to be the scratches for tomorrow if Stralman can go.

Original Post: There was a lot of news coming from practice today, courtesy of Brett Cyrgalis (New York Post). Marc Staal will play tomorrow, and Anton Stralman was taking rushes with Michael Del Zotto. John Moore and Justin Falk formed the fourth defense pairing. Staal was skating with rookie Connor Allen, who appears to be getting at least one more game with the big club. Ryan McDonagh and Dan Girardi were back together as well. The full lines:

Chris Kreider-Derek Stepan-Rick Nash
Derick Brassard-Brad Richards-Mats Zuccarello
Carl Hagelin-J.T. Miller-Benoit Pouliot
Brian Boyle-Dominic Moore-Derek Dorsett

McDonagh-Girardi
Staal-Allen
Del Zotto-Stralman
Moore-Falk (likely scratches if Stralman is good to go)

Per Andrew Gross, there is no decision on Stralman as of yet. He will see how he feels tomorrow. If he can’t go, one of Moore or Falk will skate with Del Zotto.

Ryan Callahan was in a non-contact jersey.

28 Responses to “Practice notes: Staal to play tomorrow; Cally in non-contact jersey”

  1. joe719 says:

    Everyone harps on MDZ, but maybe John Moore needs to sit down. Granted, MDZ has been a nightmare at times. But Moore really has not added much more. He needs to use that speed to create offensive chances, not get caught out of position trying to cover up other guys mistakes. Needs to be a lot stronger in front of the net and along the boards. He seems to be losing a lot of the battles lately.

    • Chris F says:

      Moore’s speed is actually perfectly suited for covering teammate’s miscues.

      AV’s 1-2-2 forecheck leaves the two defensemen up high near the point, where in theory they would not need to pressure the puck as much, however the strong side overload leaves the middle of the ice open for possible odd man rushes the other way. Moore and McDonagh are the guys you want on the ice if that happens because they have the speed to get back and make up the coverage.

      Moore’s speed is also important in terms of joining the rush, which he needs to do more, and he certainly could work on his battle level.

      But make no mistake, Moore’s speed is primarily a benefit in making up for miscues in AV’s overload forecheck system.

      • joe719 says:

        I don’t think he was included in the Nash deal as just an eraser for teamates miscues. He has offensive ability, but he doesn’t or can’t seem to harness it to create consistent offensive chances. I agree,his battle level needs to be stepped up more than a few notches. He has no real presence in front of his net. That is a BIG problem for him if he isn’t contributing on the offensive end. Speed is such a great commodity to have in this League, I just wish he would use it to create some chances for himself and his teamates

        • Chris F says:

          I’m not suggesting that Moore was picked up to erase his teammates’ mistakes, however, speed on the blueline is an absolute must within AV’s overload system. Slow defensemen will never cancel out the potential odd man rushes that develop when the puck squirts out to the weakside.

          The point is, Moore’s speed is essential. He should work on improving other areas of his game, but just having that speed is a crucial asset within the current system he is being asked to play.

          • flatbush says:

            Listening to Joe719 & Chris F re:speed and the AV system and agree with Joe. This idea that the AV 1-2-2 requires D speed is misguided. I see the AV system tells the D’s to pinch all over the ice which is not what most teams do. Previously we held the strong side and pinched if the puck was rapped to the weak side by the WSD. Pinching the strong side requires good decision making and if your gap is not tight you’ll be late. The WSD in that case must come to the middle while the WSF fills in for the WSD D who has moved to cover the mistake of the D who pinched and missed. Our problem, plain to see that this year, we see #27 and 5 uncharacteristically being caught and we have no real speed on the back check.

  2. Sally says:

    Any predictions on who sits when Cally returns?

    • Chris F says:

      My pick would be D. Moore.

      • Rangers Fan in Boston says:

        Who slides to that 4th line?

        • Chris F says:

          That’s a good question. Typically, I would say Pouliot. However, with his strong play as of yet, you can’t demote him to the 4th line without sending all sorts of inconsistent messages to the team. I also wouldn’t really find Miller to be useful on the 4th line. Interesting predicament.

          Perhaps:

          Kreider-Stepan-Nash (1st)
          Richards-Brassard-Zuccarello (2nd)
          Pouliot-Miller-Callahan (bottom hybrid)
          Hagelin-Boyle-Dorsett (bottom hybrid)

          I hate to put Hagelin on a traditional 4th line role, however, if AV adjusts how he deploys this 4th line, I could see this being worth a try. Gotta let this line get some OZ starts though, as this could be a great forechecking line that keeps the opposition pinned for quite awhile.

          • Chris F says:

            *as of late

          • AD says:

            AV won’t do this but, in my view, Richards ought to be on the 4th line, whereas Hagelin should be up top across from Nash. Kreider on 2nd line w/Brassard & MZA.

            • @Centerman21 says:

              And why would you or AV do that? Because you still don’t like Richards or thing Hagelin has been held back by AV. You must have some reason you would want to put one of the least defensive players and one who hits 2 people per season on a checking line. That makes no sense but you may explain.

              • AD says:

                Basically, the premise of why I would do what I indicated above is neither Kreider or Nash have their offensive production maximized by playing together. I believe Hagelin as top line LW, mainyl due to his speed and ability to fetch pucks in the corners, best opens up ice and feeds Nash more than Kreider does. Further, Kreider on the top line suffers from Nash’s puck posession — Kreider’s offensive production is best maximized playing across from Zuccarella, who is more of a passer; whereas Kreider is more of a finisher. In short, these combos best compliment each player’s skillset.

                These combos, I might add, worked very well last year. So, no, it does not have anything to do with your assumption of me not liking Richards or AV; rather, past history amongst these players.

                As for Richards being on the fourth line; sure, that is not optimal but that is where he is heading. You can make an argument he may be better suited for 3rd line center but that is not where I would place him.

          • mdcoop says:

            d. moore should sit and cally on the 4th line – hate to do that but the other lines are just now starting to flow…let it be for a bit

        • paulronty says:

          J.T. Miller

  3. SalMerc says:

    Never happen, but I think Brassard needs a game in the press box

    • Johnny Drama says:

      Brassard has been one of the more productive Rangers of late, especially on the PP, so I don’t see why he would sit. Cally’s return will cause some problems because there isn’t an obvious player occupying his roster spot.

      Might still be difficult to get rid of his contract, but Richie’s solid play could maybe create some interest for him to some teams looking to make a push to the playoffs in the second half. Maybe look to package Richards and MDZ to Ottawa for Methot and MacArthur/Zack Smith, or to Toronto for Gardiner and Holland/McClement.

      I am thinking out loud here so this could be impossible, but Richie and MDZ could be good bait for a right handed defenseman and a strong 3rd/4th line grinder with some scoring touch. Also frees up a spot for Cally to move into the lineup without sending JT Miller back to Hartford.

      With that being said, having no clear player to replace for Callahan is a GOOD problem to have, so I am not saying a trade needs to happen now. Just a possibility.

  4. Bloomer says:

    The Del Zotta Stralman pairing I always liked as well as Danny G and McMonster. I like to see the new kid Allen get a good look and pair him with Staal (who I still believe will return to his old self). John Moore needs a couple of games in the press box to watch the game from above (he has a few things he needs to improve on with his defensive coverage) and D Moore could use a game off or two to rest his legs, although I have to admit he has been effective on the 4th. line.

    If the Rangers stay the course and don’t make any panic moves on the trade front, improve their play in their own end, get some decent net minding, I think they could have a good run here. Just saying.

    • SalMerc says:

      Let’s see how they fare against the Pens and Blackhawks over the next 10 days. Those are the league elite. We may get a better understanding of what we need as these teams tend to accentuate our issues.

  5. Section 121 says:

    Howdy BSBers – start thinking about next year,

    2014-15 Lineup:

    Kreider-Stepan-Nash
    Moulson-Stastny-Zuccarello
    Morrow-Miller-Hagelin
    Dorsett-Boyle-Jean

    McDonagh-Orpik
    MDZ-Girardi
    McIlrath-Moore

    Give Girardi the “C” Morrow and Nash, “A”

    • Sally says:

      Sorry, I’m not willing to write the season off at this point. I was pleasantly surprised watching the Tampa game.

    • Chris F says:

      So, you’re suggesting dumping Richards, Brassard, Callahan, Pouliot, Staal and Stralman and bringing in Moulson, Stastny, Morrow, Orpik, and calling up Jean and McIlrath.

      I’m assuming this goes a little something like this:

      1) Buy out Richards;
      2) Sign Stastny, Moulson, Morrow, and Orpik (all free agents at the end of this season);
      3) Let Free Agents Brassard, Pouliot, Stralman, and Callahan walk.
      4) Call up McIlrath and Jean.

      Problem is, Staal’s contract runs through 2015, so he’d have to be dealt in a trade, and all of the guys you want to bring in are Free Agents.

      So, I then assume you’re trying to work out some trades at the deadline this year, swapping expiring contracts. Good luck making that happen with Pittsburgh and Colorado in the mix.

      If you’re not opting primarily for trades, then you have to let some keys guys walk in the hopes that you can come to terms with several big-name free agents. The Rangers would be only one of many teams looking to sign these guys. It’s a huge long-shot.

      With that said, you’re ultimately swapping out older vets in Richards and Morrow, and then replacing Brassard and Callahan with Stastny and Moulson. Admittedly, that’s an upgrade, but on the other hand, you’re also letting go of Pouliot, Stralman, and Staal and bringing in Orpik, and two unproven prospects in Jean and McIlrath.

      I don’t think this scenario can really be played out in reality. And, even if it did, you’re nuts to give Morrow an ‘A.’ He’s a for-hire mercenary. And Nash doesn’t need that pressure either. Give McDonagh an A for God’s sake.

      • Section 121 says:

        Ok, fair enough – my main point is the team needs a real reality check and the whole idea of that Cally and core concept has been completely eroded away. Staal is a shade of his former self, Brassard is no Dubi (think EC – one dimensional), Stastny could do what Richards does for less $$ (and he’s younger).

        You could keep Stralman here if a rookie is not ready. Also Jean on the 4th line would just need to not be a liability for 6-7 min a game which is something he or any other prospect has the potential to do.

        Nash has been wearing the A in Staal’s absence and Morrow is a Cally type that has been a captain and is well respected. No issue with McD getting an A though.

        Drury and Gomez were the two most highly touted FAs in a small pool when we signed them so the chance of us locking up a few FAs in a deep pool is not that much of a long shot.

        Available: Heatly, Vanek, Gaborik, Thornton, Marleu, Stastny, Iginla, Cammalleri, Moulson, Hemsky, Jokinen, Legwand, Roy, Michalek, Vrabata, Bolland, Ott, Downie, Morrow, Grabovski

        Yes, trade/sell Brass and Staal for picks and continue keeping the farm pipeline robust. Play MDZ with Girardi to settle him down and bring back his confidence.

  6. So early in the season, MDZ plays the right side, Staal, his partner, is constantly caught out of position and Stralman is then paired with Staal. Recently, MDZ is paired with both McDonough & Giardi who BOTH were caught up ice resulting on 2 on 1s that resulted in goals. True, McDonough has improved offensively this year, but he is a -5 as opposed to a +13 last season. The style of play put in play by Vigneault is offense an offense 1st philosophy….no doubt about it. MDZ is just a victim of Vigneault’s philosophy. MDZ
    is actually better positionally this year. MDZ will flourish in another system unless Vigneault gets fired.

    As for Hagelin, he leads all Rangers in winning goals (3) and even strength goals (9), so quit moving Hagelin all over the place.

  7. Allen Conor, a 2 time Washington Capital training camp failure, was a minus 8 down at Hartford. He is the same age as MDZ & John Moore, who have both been in the NHL for a minute.

    • Chris F says:

      The name’s Conor Allen, not Allen Conor, and no one cares about his Washington tryouts.

      He played well last night. For the Rangers